Eclectic commentary from a progressive voice in the reddest part of the red state

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Why scrutinize the Amarillo downtown plan and ballpark?

John Kanelis is my friend, a fellow journalist and blogger and a gentle soul. His posts at High Plains Blogger reflect his kindness and decency. But on one issue, he and I disagree strongly and have for years.

That issue is Amarillo’s downtown redevelopment and the plan that Paul Harpole and the former City Council, aided and abetted by Downtown Amarillo Inc., the Amarillo Economic Development Corp., the Local Government Corp. and the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone, have ramrodded since at least 2008.


The three-legged stool (the metaphor of stool is purposely chosen) consisted of a “convention hotel,” a parking garage and a so-called multi-purpose event venue. John focuses on the MPEV, questioning why this ballpark is getting so much attention and repeating, sadly, the City Council “party-line” that (and here is how John said it), “No tax money will be spent on these projects.”

I had a similar debate on Facebook with Walter Riggs, a veteran banker in Amarillo. Like John, he supports the current plan. The exchange with Walter was civil and courteous and in the end, we agreed to disagree. I am sure John and I will also. Nevertheless, here are some of the key points I made to Walter and offer for my reader’s and John’s consideration.

·In 2008, the then- City Commission still had political capital to overcome its sneaky trick of subsidizing the Globe-News Center shortfall, which was $1.8 million, not the “million or so dollars” John cited. The city could have, according to my sources, gotten a bond passed for redoing the Civic Center.

·Alan Abraham, a reluctant candidate who fell to long-time councilor Brian Eades in the recent city election, a while back showed the City Commission/City Council a university-based study that the cookie-cutter approach pushed by DAI and failed master developer Wallace Bajjali that packaged the ballpark, a garage and “convention center” hotel was doomed in a community of this size. I also posited that downtown could be revived using the Herring Hotel as the touchstone and capitalizing on Amarillo railroad and Western history. I still believe that would have been a viable approach.

·It was The Amarillo Independent that vetted Wallace Bajjali better than DAI, the Amarillo Globe-News and the city of Amarillo’s hired attorneys. I suspect those in power didn’t want to listen to the Indy because I was one of those horrible “liberals.” But my politics have nothing to do with it. Nor do I consider being right about this a matter of luck. I believe we uncovered information through hard work, due diligence and good judgment.

John asked why the scrutiny on the ballpark. He notes, “I also am willing to trust that it can be done the way its proponents say it will be done: through lodging revenue collected at our hotels and motels.”

And perhaps that is the difference between a nice guy like John and someone who has watched politics in Louisiana, New Jersey, Colorado, New Mexico and, now, Amarillo. I am not willing to trust the city’s current administration or the prior City Council. Those experiences have informed my cynical view. Further, the way the city has treated the Herring Hotel reinforced my view that something is going on in Amarillo that doesn’t pass the “smell test” and ultimately, with the FBI and Grand Jury looking at the AEDC, may not pass the legal test.


And, that is why we need to watch the City Council and the rest of the downtown planning closely, and especially the ballpark.

Why scrutinize the Amarillo downtown plan and ballpark?

John Kanelis is my friend, a fellow journalist and blogger and a gentle soul. His posts at High Plains Blogger reflect his kindness and decency. But on one issue, he and I disagree strongly and have for years.

That issue is Amarillo’s downtown redevelopment and the plan that Paul Harpole and the former City Council, aided and abetted by Downtown Amarillo Inc., the Amarillo Economic Development Corp., the Local Government Corp. and the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone, have ramrodded since at least 2008.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Can we reverse the Texas Legislature's Christian theocracy?

The late and great Molly Ivins referred to the Texas Legislature as a “box of rocks.” I think she is being charitable. I am using her turn of phrase because I can’t come up with a more pejorative, but non-vulgar, description for the body’s latest stupidity.

The Dallas Morning News reports (here) that budget writers have proposed that “health clinics affiliated with abortion providers wouldn’t be eligible to participate in the combined federal and state-funded Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening program, which provides free screenings and diagnostic tests to low-income and uninsured women in Texas.”


It’s one thing for the Lege to take away the ability of local governments to control their own destinies. That law, signed by Greg Abbott, who is a mean-spirited but smarter snake than Rick Perry, was expected because the oil and gas industry owns the Lege. The industry wanted to end the fracking bans such as that passed in Denton. After all, when you buy a legislature, you want it to stay bought. Understandable in our political landscape of corporatist plutocracy.

But the move against Planned Parenthood and another measure, one “protecting” against lawsuits those pastors who refuse to officiate at same-sex weddings (here), show that the Texas Legislature is now a Christian theocracy. Read this second Dallas Morning News article and you’ll also see that the Lege is also interfering in the internal workings of individual denominations.


Is there an over-arching explanation for the Texas Legislature to act this way? Yes. It’s a reflection of a dumbed down America and an even worse dumbed down Texas. The most important question of all is whether this can be reversed before people like Abbott, Dan Patrick, Ted Cruz and the other theocrats fully control our government.

Can we reverse the Texas Legislature's Christian theocracy?

The late and great Molly Ivins referred to the Texas Legislature as a “box of rocks.” I think she is being charitable. I am using her turn of phrase because I can’t come up with a more pejorative, but non-vulgar, description for the body’s latest stupidity.

The Dallas Morning News reports (here) that budget writers have proposed that “health clinics affiliated with abortion providers wouldn’t be eligible to participate in the combined federal and state-funded Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening program, which provides free screenings and diagnostic tests to low-income and uninsured women in Texas.”

Friday, May 15, 2015

Sports, accountability and role models

While I don’t normally care about or comment on athletics, there is something to consider in all this debate — it’s the role of role models.

Let’s first stipulate that professional, and some college, athletes are role models. If you don’t agree with that, you can stop; right here.


All this discussion about who is a better player and more deserving of reinstatement or honors might bake a good debate if we weren’t talking about something far more basic and important. No matter what the transgression or degree of the transgression, what we’re discussing is cheating, honesty. And integrity — of the person, of the game and, ultimately, of how we see society, role models and leaders in society.

Did Tom Brady cheat? Does Brady create the perception of cheating? What perception does Brady create when he refuses to participate in the investigation buy not making his cell phone records or texts available? By “lawyering up?” And, what do we make of the Patriot’s organization when it circles the wagons on this and other past possible cheating? What about Rose? Did he break the rules? Did his rule-breaking cast doubts about his integrity and the integrity of the game?

I am a firm believer in redemption, second chances and even, sometimes, third chances. But I also believe that the root of many of today’s problems lie in the lack of honesty and integrity. Not holding these role models accountable, and not holding other role models accountable, for clear cases of dishonesty sends the wrong message to everyone: If you can get away with it, try to do so; and if you get caught, deny it, fight it and don’t be accountable for it.


My opinion, if it matters? In these cases, they broke the rules and accountability must prevail.

Sports, accountability and role models

While I don’t normally care about or comment on athletics, there is something to consider in all this debate — it’s the role of role models.

Let’s first stipulate that professional, and some college, athletes are role models. If you don’t agree with that, you can stop; right here.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The winds of change blew into city Hall Saturday

The Amarillo City Council got a strong message Saturday. The voters have said, “We don’t like what you’re doing and we don’t like the way you’re doing it.”

Here’s where we stand with the unofficial final numbers posted at 9:18 p.m. (here)

Mayor — Paul Harpole retains his seat with 54 percent of 14,016 votes cast. That certainly is a less resounding victory than two years ago. The 8 percentage point spread isn’t that big in the context of the 2013 race and the other results down ballot. It should be clear that Harpole no longer can claim a mandate, as he has with such hubris. Don’t overlook that Harpole had tons of money and challenger Roy McDowell didn’t. McDowell is not a smooth operator like Harpole.


Place 1 — Incumbent Ellen Robertson Green falls to Elisha Demerson with 44 percent of the 14,148 votes in this nasty and hotly contested race. Voters going down ballot are clear they want a different councilor in this slot. How much the nastiness in Green’s campaign backfired isn’t clear; nor, is it clear whether Green’s record and the way she touted defeated her. Demerson ran on transparency and took the high road.

Place 2 — Incumbent Brian Eades’ victory over Alan Abraham is no surprise. Abraham, who ran more out of conscience and a desire to foment discussion than a fire to win, didn’t mount an aggressive campaign. Even at that, he got more than one-third of the votes (35 percent of 13,942 cast), which I attribute to anti-incumbent backlash. Eades garnered much support from the Amarillo medical community and for his role in the animal control debacle. He was also the only councilor who finally admitted some culpability in the city’s lack of leadership. Will we see an Eades-Harpole contest in 2017? If Eades decides to run for mayor in two years, he will be formidable.

Place 3 — Randy Burkett bested the five-contender field with 55 percent of the 13,956 votes, defeating incumbent Lilia Escajeda. Escajeda’s lackluster get-along-by-going-along record for downtown development and other issues coupled with Burkett’s more aggressive style sealed her fate, despite an eleventh-hour hatchet job by the Amarillo Globe-News.

Place 4 — Jim Simms’ seat, as it will likely be known for some time, heads for a run-off between Mark Nair and Steve Rogers. Nair’s 45 percent to Rogers’ 25 percent of 13,848 votes wasn’t enough to elect him outright. The three other contestants divvied up the rest of the votes. Undoubtedly, the upcoming contest in June will see many reminders that Rogers is the appraiser in the questionable Commerce Building deal and is also, if my sources are correct, Harpole’s hand-picked choice. If Nair can overcome the establishment, Harpole’s money and be aggressive, he can win this election.

There are some important lessons:

·Those who say there is no hope for change in Amarillo and voting doesn’t matter are wrong. The results are nothing short of stunning, especially if Nair prevails in the run-off. That gives the five-member council three anti-incumbent seats, leaving only Harpole and Eades to defend the council’s past actions.



·The City Council and mayor will need to back off on the headlong cockamamie downtown plans and the stupidity of the ballpark. It opens the door for a reboot of downtown planning and a re-evaluation of the roles of Downtown Amarillo Inc., the Local Government Corp. and the Amarillo Economic Development Corp. Whether some folks’ résumés over at city Hall need updating remains to be seen.

·Paul “Mr. Hubris” Harpole might consider this a lesson in etiquette and courtesy. Let’s see if it’s a teachable moment.


Of course, it ain’t over till it’s over. Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The winds of change blew into city Hall Saturday

The Amarillo City Council got a strong message Saturday. The voters have said, “We don’t like what you’re doing and we don’t like the way you’re doing it.”

Here’s where we stand with the unofficial final numbers posted at 9:18 p.m. (here)

Mayor — Paul Harpole retains his seat with 54 percent of 14,016 votes cast. That certainly is a less resounding victory than two years ago. The 8 percentage point spread isn’t that big in the context of the 2013 race and the other results down ballot. It should be clear that Harpole no longer can claim a mandate, as he has with such hubris. Don’t overlook that Harpole had tons of money and challenger Roy McDowell didn’t. McDowell is not a smooth operator like Harpole.


Place 1 — Incumbent Ellen Robertson Green falls to Elisha Demerson with 44 percent of the 14,148 votes in this nasty and hotly contested race. Voters going down ballot are clear they want a different councilor in this slot. How much the nastiness in Green’s campaign backfired isn’t clear; nor, is it clear whether Green’s record and the way she touted defeated her. Demerson ran on transparency and took the high road.

Place 2 — Incumbent Brian Eades’ victory over Alan Abraham is no surprise. Abraham, who ran more out of conscience and a desire to foment discussion than a fire to win, didn’t mount an aggressive campaign. Even at that, he got more than one-third of the votes (35 percent of 13,942 cast), which I attribute to anti-incumbent backlash. Eades garnered much support from the Amarillo medical community and for his role in the animal control debacle. He was also the only councilor who finally admitted some culpability in the city’s lack of leadership. Will we see an Eades-Harpole contest in 2017? If Eades decides to run for mayor in two years, he will be formidable.

Place 3 — Randy Burkett bested the five-contender field with 55 percent of the 13,956 votes, defeating incumbent Lilia Escajeda. Escajeda’s lackluster get-along-by-going-along record for downtown development and other issues coupled with Burkett’s more aggressive style sealed her fate, despite an eleventh-hour hatchet job by the Amarillo Globe-News.

Place 4 — Jim Simms’ seat, as it will likely be known for some time, heads for a run-off between Mark Nair and Steve Rogers. Nair’s 45 percent to Rogers’ 25 percent of 13,848 votes wasn’t enough to elect him outright. The three other contestants divvied up the rest of the votes. Undoubtedly, the upcoming contest in June will see many reminders that Rogers is the appraiser in the questionable Commerce Building deal and is also, if my sources are correct, Harpole’s hand-picked choice. If Nair can overcome the establishment, Harpole’s money and be aggressive, he can win this election.

There are some important lessons:

·Those who say there is no hope for change in Amarillo and voting doesn’t matter are wrong. The results are nothing short of stunning, especially if Nair prevails in the run-off. That gives the five-member council three anti-incumbent seats, leaving only Harpole and Eades to defend the council’s past actions.



·The City Council and mayor will need to back off on the headlong cockamamie downtown plans and the stupidity of the ballpark. It opens the door for a reboot of downtown planning and a re-evaluation of the roles of Downtown Amarillo Inc., the Local Government Corp. and the Amarillo Economic Development Corp. Whether some folks’ résumés over at city Hall need updating remains to be seen.

·Paul “Mr. Hubris” Harpole might consider this a lesson in etiquette and courtesy. Let’s see if it’s a teachable moment.

Of course, it ain’t over till it’s over. Stay tuned.

The winds of change blew into city Hall Saturday

The Amarillo City Council got a strong message Saturday. The voters have said, “We don’t like what you’re doing and we don’t like the way you’re doing it.”

Here’s where we stand with the unofficial final numbers posted at 9:18 p.m. (here)

Mayor — Paul Harpole retains his seat with 54 percent of 14,016 votes cast. That certainly is a less resounding victory than two years ago. The 8 percentage point spread isn’t that big in the context of the 2013 race and the other results down ballot. It should be clear that Harpole no longer can claim a mandate, as he has with such hubris. Don’t overlook that Harpole had tons of money and challenger Roy McDowell didn’t. McDowell is not a smooth operator like Harpole.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Election issues continue to roil

Jay Groom, a Facebook friend and real life acquaintance posted the following last night: “Very ashamed of the (so-called nsp) in our fine city. The editor (Les) has gone out of his way to increase readership and therefore revenue at the expense of putting a lot of well-meaning public servants in a negative light.

Are these public servants without fault? Am I without fault? Les, are you without fault? No. I have yet to hear thoughtful solutions for some of our city's problems from the nsp or many of the candidates looking to replace the present city council. So many of the negative views of the current mayor and city council have come from a relatively few anonymous posters in the nsp and a couple of mayor wannabees that for whatever reason, chose not to run. Rant is over. I throw it to George Schwarz for a thoughtful rebuttal.”

I obliged.


Jay Groom, thanks for the toss and I’ll rise to the occasion — mainly because I can’t keep my damn mouth shut!

When I came to Amarillo in June 2003, I did so with high hopes of being on the staff of a medium-sized daily paper that was important to the community and provided high-quality journalism as the descendent of a Pulitzer-winning newspaper. When I interviewed for the job, I made it clear that along with being the health and medicine reporter (having a M.A. in hospital and health administration), I am also an investigative reporter. I joined Investigative Reporters and Editors in 1995, during my career change, and have never let the membership lapse. That’s my commitment to investigative reporting.

In the interim of the job offer and arrival, Les Simpson had fired Cathy Martindale as executive editor. I didn’t see that as a harbinger of the paper’s (I refuse to call the Amarillo Globe-News a newspaper) deterioration. But, for as long as I was there, I saw stories killed and scared cows protected. How ironic given Gene Howe’s quote above the door. Then there was the Franklin Covey program that Les and Morris Communications inflicted on the newsroom in which they declared there were no sacred cows. Most of the reporters there laughed at that one. By the way, I can give you all several specific examples of spiked or slanted stories, but not at the moment.

Fast-forward to 2008, with the two-year-old Amarillo Independent covering the City Council (I am using Commission and Council interchangeably, although I know the difference), when the current push for downtown planning reared its head. The Indy pointed out a lot of the problems with the plan, including the failure to focus on the Civic Center first. Despite the City Council’s duplicity with the Globe-News Center, enough political capital remained that the voters would have approved a bond issue for a big Civic Center project. The hotel and other projects, whatever they would be and whatever direction they took would have followed.

During that time, Richard Brown touted the establishment of Downtown Amarillo Inc. as the mechanism to bring the real estate and development expertise to the city, with it being a nonprofit not subject to the Texas sunshine laws. A lot of people objected to that; and many other people — including Alan Abraham (but not Brian Eades) — also objected to Les being placed on DAI’s and the Local Government Corp.’s boards. I remember objecting before the council and in editorials, arguing that if one media outlet was on those boards, all should be. Of course, it was clear why the council pulled that stunt — co-option of the worse kind.

I have said openly and will repeat it here. Les could have done the right thing as an ethical journalist and declined those posts. But, he didn’t. As far as I’m concerned, he forfeited any right to be called a journalist. Whatever his motivation, by repudiating core journalistic ethics, by being part of the process instead of being a watchdog of it, he made the Globe-News and himself bigger lapdogs than they already were. Even worse, he was part of the group that brought Melissa Dailey to DAI and she was the one who, with Les, brought Wallace Bajjali to the table. The Indy did its part with watchdog journalism in November 2010, revealing WB’s shady record at a council work session, all the while Les sat stewing and Dailey claiming DAI had done its due diligence. The city’s retention of a Dallas law firm to “vet” Wallace Bajjali was a ploy to simply grease the skids. As Don Yee pointed out, in commenting about the NFL’s law firm’s “Deflategate” report, law firms can be counted on to come up with findings the client wants. Did the firms do so for the city?

The downtown planning process was gamed from the start and, although the Kabuki Dance tried to make it look like an open process and invited other ideas, the truth is once Dailey and Wallace Bajjali got involved, it was going to be WB’s cookie-cutter ballpark approach. But worse, despite the Indy kicking open the public records and meetings doors at DAI, most of the efforts continued behind closed doors. The city can look cooperative while stonewalling. It’s really quite charming, but it isn’t transparent. As the downtown debacle unfolded and other city problems came to the forefront, failed oversight and transparency became the issues of this campaign.

I don’t think it’s totally accurate to fault the challengers for not having solutions. Many of them have articulated that rebuilding the Civic Center should be the next step; and that the Herring Hotel should not be shut out of the plans. And a call to revamp city management, draconian it may be, is a solution. When the Indy covered this issue, we took editorial positions calling for the Civic Center as a priority, focusing in the city’s railroad, Western heritage and the magic of Route 66. Those ideas were spurned but I am still convinced that those are the elements of Amarillo that people are interested in; I still subscribe to the notion that the ballpark is a joke. Alan Abraham has a university study showing what a bad idea those ballparks are and he showed it to the councilors. The council has a knack for rejecting good information.

As for the Globe-News not offering solutions or alternatives, what do you expect with Les so invested in this debacle? He has gone pretty low profile, hasn’t he? But the Globe-News turning on the city and incumbents has Les’ fingerprints all over it. I don’t know the reason or reasons, although I have my theories.

As for “relatively few anonymous posters in the nsp,” I make two observations. First, the City Council, DAI, WB and the AGN have argued that there was citizen input accepting all the elements of the downtown plan, but in the context of our city, those were relatively few. So, are the posters on the AGN website a disproportionate few? Second, I’ve posted on the AGN site for years, but every time someone there figures out my screen name, they ban me. I outed myself as “opinionista” this past weekend in response to Melissa Dailey using her maiden name and posting propaganda and inaccurate information. I expect to be banned any day now.

I can’t speak for anyone else’s tone, style or criticism of the incumbents. I’ve been harsh but civil. And I stand by my positions. I didn’t grow up in Texas. I grew up in New Orleans and, as an adult, lived in eight states before getting here. I never liked the “get along by going along” approach to politics, public policy or management, although I don’t like the nastiness we’ve seen. But what I see has blunt and straightforward comments and opinions are seen by others as harsh or negative. I see that as a “get along by going along” ploy. I am 70-years-old. I am beyond the point of needing to care what others think of me as long as I retain my own integrity.

Thanks for inviting me to comment and for reading.


Election issues continue to roil

Jay Groom, a Facebook friend and real life acquaintance posted the following last night: “Very ashamed of the (so-called nsp) in our fine city. The editor (Les) has gone out of his way to increase readership and therefore revenue at the expense of putting a lot of well-meaning public servants in a negative light.

Are these public servants without fault? Am I without fault? Les, are you without fault? No. I have yet to hear thoughtful solutions for some of our city's problems from the nsp or many of the candidates looking to replace the present city council. So many of the negative views of the current mayor and city council have come from a relatively few anonymous posters in the nsp and a couple of mayor wannabees that for whatever reason, chose not to run. Rant is over. I throw it to George Schwarz for a thoughtful rebuttal.”

I obliged.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Local group launches anti-council ad

Local group launches anti-council ad

Local group launches anti-council commercial

Cynicism justified in city council race

My friend and former colleague the Amarillo Globe-News, John Kanelis, has become quite a prolific blogger and recently commented on the campaign contribution story in the out-of-town-owned daily paper. He noted that for a paltry $10 a week to attend City Council meetings, the amount of money seemed pretty high. He posited that the money spent on the race reflected a commitment to public service.

“I will add this observation, however. If the candidates are going to spend nearly 300 grand collectively for an office that basically pays them nothing, then I suspect a serious commitment to public service from all of them — incumbents and challengers alike.


That speaks well for Amarillo.”

I posted my response page, but it didn’t stay up for some reason. However, I am much more cynical. I believe the intensity of this race stems from either power and ego or something far more sinister.

It is quite obvious from those who have covered the council that there are huge egos play and those egos are deeply invested in the downtown development. Those plans seem to have backfired with the implosion of master developer Wallace Bajjali Development Partners. Councilors, with the exception of Brian Eades but particularly the mayor, refuse to admit how badly they have done their job and how pathetic their choice of the master developer one. But, the real question is whether something deeper is happening.

Don’t forget that a grand jury and the FBI are investigating certain transaction of the Amarillo Economic Development Corp. and its transaction concerning the Commerce Building. Between the inside dealing and admission by several counselors that they knew nothing about the price sale of that property, the deal reeks. A few months ago, K VI I traced ownership connections and found that former Mayor Debra McCartt’s husband was involved in one of the partnerships. But, Joe Bob McCartt’s involvement wasn’t obvious — name was found associated with a limited liability corporation that is involved in the deal.

Down the road, who knows what interests the current councilmembers might have for how they might benefit.

Many people believe that backscratching within the business community is no more than good old boys taking care of one another. They reject the notion that this type of behavior is corruption. If rolling over real estate between business people results in profitable trade-offs amongst themselves, that’s fine and dandy. However, the deals that we have seen are using a lot of taxpayer money and when that happens it becomes corruption.


I do not apologize for my skepticism or cynicism. Over the past 20 years, those attributes have contributed to my being a good journalist. When dealing with politics and public money, it’s clear to me this type of vigilance is necessary.

Cynicism justified in city council race

My friend and former colleague the Amarillo Globe-News, John Kanelis, has become quite a prolific blogger and recently commented on the campaign contribution story in the out-of-town-owned daily paper. He noted that for a paltry $10 a week to attend City Council meetings, the amount of money seemed pretty high. He posited that the money spent on the race reflected a commitment to public service.

“I will add this observation, however. If the candidates are going to spend nearly 300 grand collectively for an office that basically pays them nothing, then I suspect a serious commitment to public service from all of them — incumbents and challengers alike.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Look who crawled out from under the rocks on the AGN website

A poster signed @mwaelti posted the following on the Amarillo Globe-News website on this story. Here is what she wrote:

“MPEV

The cost to build the MPEV is known, and the funding sources identified. A market study has been completed, and there have been numerous conversations with the owner of the Thunderheads as well as the various baseball associations. The homework has been done. Now it's time to build it.”


I am pretty damn sure this is Downtown Amarillo Inc. Executive Director Melissa Dailey, so this is what I posted:


“Hey Melissa Dailey,

"The homework has been done" Just like the homework you did to give us Wally-ByGolly. You've mislead us on Liberty Theater -- folks reading this need to just ask Keith Jones about that. You've got Lutz out in front on the old Santa Fe Depot, in a case of too-little-or-nothing-too-late. I could go on.

If we know the cost of the ball park (MPEV is a friggin' joke and we all know it), why don't you post it here? And will the contract or whomever builds it contain a guarantee that the taxpayer will not pay a penny if the costs exceed your (or Jacobs Engineering's, or whoever's) guesses on the cost? As for the market study, if you're referring to the Sports and Leisure study a few years ago? People who have forgotten more about finances, statistics and market studies than you ever knew shot more holes in that thing than all the Swiss cheese ever made.

And, specifically, what are the funding sources? Tell us exactly.

And now, you're using your middle/maiden name in an attempt to hide who you are as a poster here. This is the lack of transparency that everyone is talking about. You run an organization that the Texas Attorney General ruled is subject to the state's sunshine laws. Live up to the spirit of the law.

It is clear that you, some of the councilors and others are running scared over this election. A decent voter turnout will doom you and your half-baked plans and you and others know it.

OK - that said, since I called you out by name, I am going to confirm who I am since some have suspected and others have known. I suspect it will get me banned from the AGN postings, but that will just define the AGN. It doesn't define me.

I am George Schwarz, semi-retired publisher of The Amarillo Independent; and, once again for the record, left the AGN on my own accord for reasons I have made clear elsewhere.”

Look who crawled out from under the rocks on the AGN website

A poster signed @mwaelti posted the following on the Amarillo Globe-News website on this story. Here is what she wrote:

“MPEV

The cost to build the MPEV is known, and the funding sources identified. A market study has been completed, and there have been numerous conversations with the owner of the Thunderheads as well as the various baseball associations. The homework has been done. Now it's time to build it.”


I am pretty damn sure this is Downtown Amarillo Inc. Executive Director Melissa Dailey, so this is what I posted: